WORLDCON PANELLING

I, like lots of other people, got a bit excited when the organisers of Loncon3 sent out the draft schedule for this year’s Worldcon – but I’ve had some ongoing website problems, so it’s taken a while to get this online. But, at last, for anyone who might be interested, these are (provisionally, I think) the panels I’ll be appearing on at what looks like being an absolutely massive convention.

I hope my fellow panellists won’t be too disappointed to discover that it was finding out that I was going to be on a panel with Kim Stanley Robinson that made me give a little squeak of joy/terror/pleasure.

Overall, I have to say I’m really excited about the content of these panels. I think it’s great that the Loncon3 organisers have included a serious thread of political discussion – from what I’ve seen of other people’s schedules, there’s a lot going on – and I’m glad to be a part of it. I hope I can do the topics justice.

Occupy SF: Inequality on Screen 
Thursday 15:00 – 16:30
One of the defining political issues of our time, societal inequality is showing up on-screen in films like In TimeElysium and The Dark Knight Rises, and TV shows such as Continuum and Arrow. How successfully do these works engage with the issues they raise? Is the imagery they use at odds with the narratives they follow? And what would radical anti-inequality SF look like?
PANEL: Martin McGrath (Moderator): Carrie Vaughn, Roz J Kaveney, Takayuki Tatsumi, Laurie Penny

Ideology versus Politics in Science Fiction 
Thursday 16:30 – 18:00
Most “political” science fiction doesn’t really deal with politics, it deals with the setting out of ideologies. In other words, it tells stories that have little to do with running a government. The result is a debate of ideas where the political is described by greed and corruption, but never the merely bureaucratic. Why are these tropes recycled time and again? How can politics be approached in a more authentic way and remain interesting to readers?
PANEL: Teresa Nielsen Hayden (Moderator): Guido Eekhaut, Martin McGrath, Laurie Penny, Kim Stanley Robinson

The Press vs Science 
Friday 20:00 – 21:00
In this panel we discuss the representation of science in the press, and how it works for good and for ill.
PANEL: Martin McGrath (Moderator): John Gribbin, Moira O’Keeffe, Dr Jenny Rohn, Alison Sinclair, Katie Mack

Working for a Living 
Sunday 10:00 – 11:00
Most SF TV focuses on (and is written by!) professional/white collar/middle class individuals. But a few recent examples — such as The Walking Dead,True Blood, and Misfits — have been grounded more in working class/blue collar experiences. How does this affect the stories such shows tell, the range of characters and identities they include, and how they use their fantastic elements?
PANEL: Chris N. Brown (Moderator):  Kate Keen, Martin McGrath, Donna Scott, Heather Urbanski

You Don’t Like Me When I’m Angry 
Sunday 15:00 – 16:30
Commenting on the portrayal of Magneto in X-Men: First Class, Abigail Nussbaum noted that there is an “increasing prevalence of vengeful victim characters, who are condemned not for the choices they make in pursuit of revenge, but simply for feeling anger … There is in stories like this a small-mindedness that prioritizes the almighty psychiatric holy grail of “healing”–letting go of one’s anger for the sake of inner peace–over justified, even necessary moral outrage.” Which other stories follow this template, and whose interests do they really serve? Where can we find screen depictions of the power of anger, and/or other models of anger?
PANEL: Mary Anne Mohanraj (Moderator): Martin McGrath, Stephanie Saulter, Tansy Rayner Roberts, Nin Harri

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